When I was a kid, I saw a shooting start and my parents told me to make a wish. Not understanding exactly how wishes worked, I woke up the next morning disappointed that my wish had not immediately come true.
Sadly, I believe many of our prayer lives are like this. We offer a petition to God then go about our ways expecting it to magically come true. Our readings this Sunday show that miracles are sometimes a bit more complicated than this. In the case of Naaman and the Samaritan leper, petition was the first step, but this was followed by two additional steps: trusting God when something peculiar was asked of them, and showing thanks for answering the prayer.
So it should be with us. When we ask God for help, the first thing we should do is listen for God’s answer. Where is he guiding us? How is he showing us the answer? It may seem peculiar or difficult, but faith leads us to trust that God knows how to answer our prayers and that we might have to make some sacrifices to see them fulfilled.
Am I In A Cult?
At first glance, it’s a ridiculous question. Obviously no. But what is a cult, and how is it different from a religion? It’s not such an easy question to answer. Further, once we do, it becomes apparent that the difference between the two isn’t so black and white: there can be cult-like aspects to religions. This is something to beware of.
Such as… Biblical Fundamentalism
One of the most common aspects of a cult is the lack of intellectual questioning or rigor. Adherents are told to obey without understanding, even when the information they’ve been given doesn’t make much sense. This week, Fr. Patrick and I review one such example of that: a children’s representation of the Genesis story packed full of biblical fundamentalism.
Or Organized Crime
The same can be said about organized crime families, on display in the movie Lucky Number Slevin. Not exactly the most wholesome movie Fr. Tito and I have ever reviewed, it is a look into what hatred, resentment, and fear will do to people, including the “heroes” of the movie. It’s a clever, well-written movie, but not one we’d recommend for all audiences.
Can “good people” get to heaven?
The only way to heaven is through Jesus, but that doesn’t mean that even people in cults can’t be saved. We believe in a merciful God, as I discuss in this TikTok.
Keep us in your prayers
Starting tomorrow, the priests of the Diocese of Savannah will on retreat. I would appreciate your prayers for all these men that it may be a rejuvenating and inspiring week.
Peace and good to everyone!